Coaches had 80 years of experience
By Greg Seubert
Six of Waupaca High School’s 16 varsity sports teams will have a new coach for the 2016-17 school year.
John Koronkiewicz stepped down earlier this year after coaching football for 32 seasons from 1984-2015, but WHS Athletic Director Carl Eggebrecht also received recent notices from boys’ basketball coach Ron Weber, boys’ hockey coach Dave Crisman, girls’ hockey coach Tim Guyer, volleyball coach Chelsea Benitz and girls’ basketball coach Amanda Bronk.
Weber coached the boys’ basketball team for 35 seasons from 1978-2001 and 2004-16; Crisman and Guyer coached for four seasons; Benitz for three; and Bronk for two.
Koronkiewicz was inducted into the Wisconsin Football Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 2008 and the Wisconsin Basketball Coaches Association inducted Weber into its Hall of Fame in 2011.
“It’s unusual that we have two people with that many years stepping down,” Eggebrecht said and added he wouldn’t be surprised if any of the coaches became involved with their respective programs at some point.
“I think he wants to help kids,” he said of Weber. “He has a passion for basketball and a lot of knowledge of the game. His strength is understanding the X’s and O’s.”
Benitz indicated in her resignation letter that she’d be willing to help out the volleyball program.
“I am excited to be able to work with the girls on a more individual basis and have someone to help, even if it meant me giving up the head coach title,” she wrote. “I’m not sad about giving up the paperwork/stats end of it. I was fortunate that the girls and the parents were always very supportive, but it’s been a lot the past three years with trying to teach new classes and taking grad classes. Maybe one day I’ll be able to juggle it all again if the opportunity presents itself, but I think being an assistant to another good coach will be a good fit for me next year and will be beneficial to the program and girls’ sports.”
“I would like to thank WAYHA, the school district, my assistant coaches and my players for getting girls’ high school hockey off the ground in Waupaca and making a mark not only in our conference, but statewide,” Guyer said.
“It has been a very enjoyable experience over the past four years,” said Guyer, who was named the Girls Wisconsin Hockey Coaches Association’s coach of the year in 2015 after leading Waupaca Area to a Great Northern Conference championship and a 23-3 record.
“I will always support this program and the opportunities that it gives to all girls in our communities. We had a lot of success and showed great improvement over our first four years and I look forward to watching the program continue to grow.”
Bronk coached the girls’ junior varsity basketball team for a season before moving up to fill the vacant varsity spot in 2014.
“I have enjoyed the past three years of involvement and feel at this time the team would benefit from a change in leadership,” she wrote. “We have seen some great improvement in many areas and I look forward to seeing continued growth under a new staff.”
The school posted the football and basketball positions with their respective state coaches associations.
“My shared vision and mission for the hockey team has been to create an environment where our players develop and display character, integrity and sportsmanship that becomes the foundation within our high school, community and youth programs as they strive yearly for championship success in left and hockey,” Crisman wrote in his resignation letter. “A high school sport is such a unique experience for young men and women and being part of a team that lives the mission attracts students to want to be more involved.
“I have been blessed to lead this team and believe we have built a program base that is sustainable for years to come,” he added. “While we have had many memorable events over the past four years, I am most proud that our teams have received zero unsportsmanlike or misconduct penalties during that span.”
Eggebrecht anticipates at least four teaching openings at the high school due to retirements and said there could be other openings at the Waupaca Middle School, Waupaca Learning Center and Chain o’ Lakes Elementary School.
“We want to make sure we look at all of our candidates in the K-12 system,” he said. “I anticipate we’ll be getting applications from in-school, inside the community, outside the community and new hires. We’ll have four avenues to look for candidates. If we can get a good teacher/coach, that’s fine. If we can get a good community member, that’s fine, too.”
“With the upcoming teacher vacancies, I personally feel that it is important to find individuals who also have hockey backgrounds,” Crisman wrote. “There are numerous individuals who would love opportunities to coach high school hockey. However, our geographic location limits those who work outside the school district. By reaching out to college hockey coaching staffs, I am sure they will assist you in finding quality individuals who have teaching degrees that are also looking to continue giving back to the game of hockey.”
The school’s other 10 varsity sports teams are baseball, softball, cross country, wrestling, boys’ soccer, boys’ golf, boys’ track, girls’ soccer, girls’ track and girls’ golf.
Interested applicants should send a letter of interest and resume to Waupaca High School, c/o Carl Eggebrecht, E2325 King Road, Waupaca, WI 54981, by Tuesday, March 29.
“Most candidates tell me, ‘I’d like to build a program and be here a long time,’ but peoples’ lives change,” Eggebrecht said. “There are high expectations for head coaches. A basketball team leaves here at 3:30 and might not get here until 10 o’clock.
“They’re working 40-plus hours a week already,” he added. “How do you prioritize your primary job, your secondary job and your family and maintain strong relationships with everybody? It’s so much more than roll out the ball for two hours and play.”